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PhilHealth mulls possible extension of ‘unli’ dialysis after Sept. 15

The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) is studying the possibility of extending the availability of “unlimited” dialysis treatment for its members after September 15, when the six-month declaration of state of calamity due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted.

In a text message, PhilHealth deputy spokesperson Rey Balena told GMA News Online that the state insurer is studying how it can extend the privilege of beyond 90 dialysis sessions, which was activated when the country was placed under state of calamity.

“[Pinagaaralan] kung paano ie-extend ang privilege kasi dependent lang ang policy na ito sa declaration of state of calamity,” Balena said.

“Pinag-uusapan dito sa amin [and] we will see,” he added.

Patients will no longer be able to avail of “unlimited” dialysis treatment through PhilHealth after September 15, once the six-month declaration of state of calamity over the country is lifted.

On March 17, President Rodrigo Duterte, placed the entire Philippines under a state of calamity to allow the government to tap more funds to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Balena clarified that the regular coverage for dialysis patients is up to 90 days or 90 sessions per calendar year.

“Beyond 90 sessions ay kino-cover [pa rin] ng PhilHealth... Ito ay pribilehiyo na ipinagkakaloob ng PhilHealth kapag tayo ay nasa ilalim ng isang calamity or fortuitous event, alinsunod sa policy na 2020-007,” he said.

The PhilHealth official noted that apart from the coverage of dialysis patient-members beyond 90 days, regular members’ 45 days of coverage per calendar year was extended by the declaration of state of calamity.

This means that even if patients have used up their allotted days of insurance coverage during the period, PhilHealth is obligated to pay for the additional sessions.

Balena also said that patients who shelled out their own money for their sessions during the state of calamity may get reimbursement from PhilHealth offices as long as they have receipts.

“Kami ay naka antabay lang. Kung merong proclamation of state calamity ay na-activate ang pribilehiyo... Ito ay pinag-aaralan naman at maglalabas ng panibagong advisory on this,” he added. -MDM, GMA News